Piano Concerto No. 16 “Fate or Destiny” is dedicated to the composer’s mother, Feya Peskanov, née Feya Abramovna Wasserman. The title poses the question of whether one’s life is predetermined or one’s destiny can be shaped, and fate can be rejected. Concerto No. 16 does not offer the answer but merely poses the question.
This work is written in 3 movements, in the key of G minor. It depicts the early years of World War II. Feya was about 9 years old when her father was sent to a labor camp during the repressive regime of Stalin. She was left with her mother and infant sister. Later, as the Nazi army surrounded Odessa, Ukraine, thousands of people were trying to escape. Feya, her mother and sister were able to board one of the last ships of evacuees heading to Novorossiysk, on the Black Sea. It was late fall, and as they disembarked the ship, they heard the drone of Nazi bombers overhead. Feya, her mother and sister, were among the few to survive this horrible attack. This story is portrayed in the final movement “Edge of Fear.” The circumstances that helped to shape Feya’s life, in turn, impacted the lives of her children.